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Gosberton residents may need to find an alternative cemetery if parish council cannot find extra land

The future of a village cemetery is facing uncertainty.

Gosberton residents could be left with needing to find an alternative cemetery for burials if the parish council is unable to secure extra land.

During a virtual meeting of Gosberton Parish Council on Monday, chairman John Clark expressed his concerns surrounding the lack of space at the cemetery on Wargate Way.

Gosberton cemetery (38508943)
Gosberton cemetery (38508943)

He said: “I went down the other day to help mark a space out and I realised how short of space we are getting.

“I did do a count up of how many empty plots there are - I know we have some reserved, but I think it’s in the 20s. Where we go from there I don’t know as we are in a bit of a wait-and-see situation.

“I don’t know if our allotments are good enough which means we’d need to buy land and get it into a state with roadway, car park etc. We could probably look into it but my feeling is that cremation plots will be fine but the cemetery for burials will probably end up closing.

“It’ll take a while, but that might be the outcome.”

Last year, the parish council enquired through a land agent whether it would be possible to purchase a strip of land which neighbours the cemetery, but as yet there has not been an update. It is estimated that the cemetery will run out of space in around three years.

During the meeting, Coun Tim Smith asked if a compulsory purchase order could be used.

Coun Clark said that he had spoken to the agent about this. He said: “We can compulsory purchase. Apparently it could cost us anywhere up to £10,000 to get it to court and then we’d have to pay the actual price deemed by a valuer, so not quite knowing where they value it or the court costs, it could be anywhere between £30-50,000 and then the price of the land and the work done to it. I have heard reports where it can go to hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Other ideas were discussed, such as Coun Rodney Grocock’s idea of “doubling up” graves, which they will look into.

Coun Clark added: “I think it’s such a shame that there’s people who have lived and worked in the village all their lives and they can’t be buried here because we can’t get ten metres of land from the land owner. But it is their land so we have to respect that.”

New vice chairman

A new vice chairman has been elected.

Councillors voted for Coun Jeremy Bennett to replace Samantha Mumby in the role following her resignation.

Coun Sue Thorley said: “I’d like to nominate Jeremy as I think he’d make an excellent chairman, so a year as vice would be good training.” Councillors also voted to keep chairman John Clark in the role for a second year.

Money to important causes

Gosberton Parish Council has selected four causes to benefit from a share of money from Unknown Donors.

The council has received £485 which will be split between Gosberton Community Association Team, Gosberton Playing Field refurbishments, Marjorum Beehive and the Handbell Society for handbell restoration.

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